18 VERDICT OX INDIA
'Maybe I have. But it's a damned unsatisfactory answer, when
voti come to think of it.'
'How do you mean?'
'Well. I want to write a book. And it's an exhausting bus ness,
writing a book on a negative note/
'But supposing you have no alternative ?'
He leant forward, and spoke very earnestly. 'Supposing you
come to the conclusion that India is a whole series of negatives ?
You've already told me about your search for modern art.. .and
how you found nothing. You've met dozens of leading personal-
ities in the political world, and you yourself told me that none of
them had any really creative proposals.1 Isn't that another way
of saying that their favourite word is 'No' when it ought to be
* That's one way of putting it.'
'But isn't it /? ue ? Isn't India one gigantic series of No's, from
start to finish?'
Tm too tired to answer abstract questions like that.'
'But you'll have to answer them if your book's going to be of
any value. What's more, you'll have to find the reason why.'
* Is there a reason why?'
' I think so. But it's not up to me to give it. After all, it's your
Yes, worse luck, it is.
So perhaps we had better begin to get on with it.
1 This was before I met Jinnalu